October 11, 2018 - Skissernas Museum – Museum of Artistic Process and Public Art - Memory Matters
October 11, 2018

Skissernas Museum – Museum of Artistic Process and Public Art

Courtesy Skissernas Museum. 

Memory Matters
October 4, 2018–February 17, 2019

Skissernas Museum – Museum of Artistic Process and Public Art
Finngatan 2
SE-223 62 Lund
Hours: Tuesday–Wednesday 11am–5pm,
Thursday 11am–9pm,
Friday 11am–6pm,
Saturday–Sunday 12–5pm

T +46 46 222 72 83

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The exhibition includes works by Luis Camnitzer, Aslı Çavuşoğlu, Nidhal Chamekh, Haroon Gunn-Salie, Iman Issa, Titus Kaphar, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Ahmet Öğüt and Indrė Šerpytytė.

Curator: Patrick Amsellem, Museum Director, Skissernas Museum

In August 2017, violent clashes broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia, when extreme right wing groups contested the city’s decision to remove a statue of Southern Confederate Commander Robert E Lee. The events started a major debate on the future of American Confederate monuments. Just over a year after the confrontations in Charlottesville and the comprehensive debates they provoked, Skissernas Museum – Museum of Artistic Process and Public Art presents Memory Matters. This is an exhibition about collective memory—memory which, unlike that of individual memory, is shared by many people, an entire group or society. Collective memory is often an expression of how a group in a position of power has chosen to recount and represent cultural and historical events, as in official memorials and monuments. But collective memories, like the monuments that embody them, are often contentious. Art provides the possibility of alternative perspectives on history and the expression of memories that have been silenced or repressed. 

The exhibition shows works in various artistic practices from the past ten years, by artists from several different parts of the world. These artists all address historiography and memorial culture in different ways. The works engage in a dialogue with contemporary social and political events and with the contexts in which the artists operate—from the silence after the dictatorship in Uruguay or the Soviet era in Lithuania, to expressions of power in post-colonial Angola and South Africa. Some of the artists transform and reinterpret traditional memorial forms such as statues and busts to comment, problematize and sometimes undermine the official history. Others create new narratives by questioning previously accepted histories or by highlighting the circumstances that contribute to the formation of collective memories. Some of the works become unofficial memorials for people and events for whom such memorials were previously lacking—memorials that oppose oblivion, repression or active erasure to become new bearers of collective memory. Instead of the commissioned and official monuments and memorials in public space, the museum and the exhibition context become the space in which collective memories are shared. 

The exhibition title's ambiguity, in which the word matter is used in its meaning both as a verb (to be significant, to be important) and as a noun (material, substance, subject), testifies to the importance of continuously discussing memorial culture and the construction of collective memories—the subject affects us all, not least artists. At the same time, the title alludes to the way in which memories are not only immaterial but also given physical expression, such as monuments in public space or as artworks in this exhibition. 

The ambiguity is summarised in Iman Issa’s work Material, whose various parts in all the rooms of the exhibition function as a backbone for Memory Matters. In this work, the artist investigates the complicated relationship between history, collective memory, language and monuments. Issa’s work is based on an ambivalence towards the possibility of translating memories and expressing them in physical form. Her poetic and enigmatic alternative monuments are open to different interpretations. Nevertheless, they are rooted in a belief in the necessity, expressed in many of the works in the exhibition, both to question official monuments and to create new forms with the potential to express collective memories. 

Program highlights: 

Thursday, October 18 at 7pm
Ulf Zander, Professor of History at Lund University, talks about how both art and history can be used for different purposes. 

Wednesday, October 24 at 6pm and Thursday, November 8 at 7pm
Join Patrick Amsellem, museum director and curator, on a special tour of the exhibition. 

Thursday, December 6 at 7pm
Danish-Caribbean artist Jeannette Ehlers talks about her work and the monument I am Queen Mary, Denmark’s first public monument to a black woman. The monument, created in collaboration with the artist La Vaughn Belle, commemorates the consequences of Denmark's colonization of the current US Virgin Islands and the people who suffered.

January–February 2019 
South African artist Haroon Gunn-Salie is Skissernas Museum's artist in residence during the final months of the exhibition and will participate in the Museum's public program.

Skissernas Museum – Museum of Artistic Process and Public Art
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